Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Beginning Farmers the Focus of Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: Workshops, Scholarships, and Farmland Access Networking Featured

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2017

Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
Kelly Henderson, OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, kelly@oeffa.org
  
Helping beginning farmers start and grow their operations is the focus of a six-part workshop track, which is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow. The event will be held Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio.
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“Our goal is to help early career and aspiring farmers increase their knowledge and skills, find leads on farmland, and make business and professional connections,” said OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator Kelly Henderson.
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Six 90-minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics from choosing the right equipment to developing a successful business:
  • Start with the Soil: Establishing a First-Year Fertility Program—Raymond Yoder, Jr., Green Field Farms (Friday, February 10, 8:30-10 a.m.)
  • Starting Your Own Farm Business from Scratch—Richard Wiswall, Cate Farm (Friday, February 10, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)
  • Farming the Farm Bill: FSA Programs and How They Can Support Your Farm—Matt Kleski and David Drake, USDA Farm Service Agency (Friday, February 10, 2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Farmland Access 101: Options for Landowners and Growers—Krista McGaw, Tecumseh Land Trust (Saturday, February 11, 8:30-10 a.m.)
  • The Path to Organic Certification: Lessons from Farmers—Julia Barton and Patrick Turner, Octagon Acres (Saturday, February 11, 1:30-3 p.m.)
  • Walk-Behind Tractors for Small Farms—Michael O’Donnell, Purdue University Extension (Saturday, February 11, 3:30-5 p.m.)
In addition to the begin farming workshop track, the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will offer other opportunities geared specifically toward beginning farmers, including:
  • A full-day pre-conference intensive workshop on Thursday, February 9, “Farming Smarter, Not Harder: Tune Up Your Farm Business and Increase Your Net Profit.” Long-time organic farmer and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, will explore ways farmers can plan to increase their farms’ net profit, market their products strategically, and meet their long-term business goals.
  • A free, public Farm Land of Opportunity reception on Thursday, February 9 designed to connect farmers looking for land with established farmers looking for employees, retiring farmers interested in a transition plan, and landowners with land to sell or lease.

To help budding farmers access these educational opportunities, OEFFA is offering a limited number of full scholarships for early career farmers. The application deadline is January 7.

In addition, the conference will also feature:

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2017. Online registration will be open until January 23.
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Begin farming workshops and scholarships are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program. For more information about OEFFA’s other beginning farmer work, go to www.oeffa.org/q/beginfarming.

Our Sponsors
   
     
 
AgCredit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Edible Columbus | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Hiland Supply Co. | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Lucky Cat Bakery | Organic Valley | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
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Andelain Fields | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Palamades Photography | Plant Talk Radio
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Bexley Natural Market | Carriage House Farm | Casa Nueva | D&S Farm & Garden Supply | Dale Filbrun and family, Morning Sun Farm | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Dairy Farm | IBA | Jorgensen Farm | Lucky Penny Farm | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Stutzman Farm | Swainway Urban Farm | Tea Hills Farms

Best-Selling Author Robyn O’Brien to Address Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: December 15, 2016

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

How we can heal a sick food system will be the focus of a keynote address by concerned mother, author, and activist Robyn O’Brien at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow, this February in Dayton, Ohio.
 

In her February 11 keynote address, “Building the 21st Century Food System: Capitalizing on the New Food Economy,” presented by Horizon Organic, O’Brien will describe her journey from Wall Street to the farmers’ market aisle and call for change in the food industry to protect the health of our families.

After her youngest child was diagnosed with a life-threatening food allergy, O’Brien created an allergic reaction in the food industry when she asked “Are we allergic to food or to what’s been done to it?” and exposed the skyrocketing rate of food allergies and other diet-related and environmental health issues.

“This generation of kids has earned the reputation of “Generation Rx” because of the rates of food allergies,” O’Brien said at the 2016 Environmental Media Association Awards, where she was honored. “Those kids have done nothing to deserve that and we have every opportunity to fix it.”

A former financial and food industry analyst, O’Brien has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich.”

O’Brien analyzed the impact that our food system has on the health of our families, companies, and our economy in her bestselling book, The Unhealthy Truth, and became recognized around the world after her TEDx talk in 2011, which has been viewed by millions.

Her work has drawn the connection between the rising rate of food allergies and cancer, ballooning U.S. health care costs, and the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients—now found in 80 percent of U.S. processed foods—into the American food supply.

“Governments around the world said we’re going to exercise precaution and we’re not going to allow [GE technology] into our food supply because it hasn’t yet been proven safe, and yet here we said, it hasn’t yet been proven dangerous, and we allowed it,” O’Brien said in her TEDx talk. “[Companies] need to place the same value on the lives of American eaters that they’ve already placed on the lives of eaters in other countries,” she continued.

O’Brien has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, the Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and countless media outlets, and she wrote a popular column for Prevention while serving as the Executive Director of the AllergyKids Foundation, which she founded, and doing strategic advisory work for companies making changes in the food industry. O’Brien also produces a weekly podcast, Take Out with Ashley and Robyn.

She has been named by SHAPE Magazine as a “Women to Shape the World,” by Forbes Woman as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter,” and by The Discovery Channel as one of its 15 Top Visionaries.

“Robyn has made the personal political. She is giving voice to other mothers and to the children and families who are burdened with health problems as a result of the corporate manipulation of our food,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

O’Brien will speak as part of Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which will run Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 at the Dayton Convention Center.

In addition to O’Brien, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Jim Riddle on February 10; nearly 80 educational workshops; four pre-conference intensive workshops on February 9; a three-day trade show; networking events; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2017.

Our Sponsors

   

     

Dickinson Wright PLLC | Five Rivers MetroParks | Greenacres Foundation | Morning Ag Clips | Natural Awakenings Central Ohio, Cincinnati, and Toledo | Shagbark Seed and Mill | Snowville Creamery | Sustane Natural Fertilizer

  AgCredit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Edible Columbus | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Hiland Supply Co. | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Lucky Cat Bakery | Organic Valley | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
  
Andelain Fields | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Palamades Photography | Plant Talk Radio
  

Bexley Natural Market | Casa Nueva | D&S Farm & Garden Supply | Carriage House Farm | Dale Filbrun and family, Morning Sun Farm | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Dairy Farm | IBA | Jorgensen Farm | Lucky Penny Farm | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Stutzman Farm | Swainway Urban Farm | Tea Hills Farms

Organic Advocate and Farmer Jim Riddle to Address Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: December 13, 2016Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

The need for personal, societal, and political transformation in our food and farm system and the challenge of growing organic agriculture with integrity to meet consumer demand will be the focus of a keynote address by farmer and activist Jim Riddle at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow, this February in Dayton, Ohio.
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In his February 10 keynote address, “Transform Organic Today, Grow with Integrity Tomorrow,” Riddle will explore the environmental and health problems associated with our current food system, the need for farmers and citizens to engage in organic policy issues, and solutions for change.
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“I would like to see organic agriculture elevated to a high priority, fully integrated into long-term U.S. agricultural policy, recognizing the multiple benefits of environmental protection, climate change mitigation, food security, nutrition, health, biodiversity, and sustainable farm income,” Riddle told Natural Foods Merchandiser.For more than 30 years, Riddle has been an organic farmer, inspector, educator, policy analyst, and activist.

From 2001 to 2006, Riddle served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, chairing the board from 2004 to 2005. In the years since, he has remained engaged on organic issues and GMO labeling, calling for attention to process, transparency, and integrity.

He is founding chair of the thriving Winona Farmers’ Market and the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), and has served on the leadership team for eOrganic and on the boards of the International Organic Accreditation Service, Beyond Pesticides, and the Organic Processing Institute.

He served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force from 1991 to 2009, and was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program in 1998 and a national organic certification cost-share program in 2002. From 2006 to 2013, he worked for the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center as Organic Outreach Coordinator.

From 2013 to 2016, Riddle coordinated organic research grant programs for the Ceres Trust. He has recently been appointed to chair the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force, which provides advice to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota. He and his wife also own and operate Blue Fruit Farm, a five acre fruit farm in southeastern Minnesota growing certified organic blueberries, elderberries, aronia berries, black currants, blue plums, honeyberries, and juneberries. The farm is part of a 360 acre organically-managed land cooperative.

“We’ve always tried to produce good, healthy food, educate and empower others to do the same, make sure that the word “organic” has meaning, and protect the beautiful planet that we’re lucky to live on,” Riddle told the Houston County News in 2013.

On February 9, Riddle will facilitate a full-day, pre-conference intensive workshop, titled, “Respect Your Elderberries: Growing and Selling Niche Fruit Crops from Aronia to Service Berries.”

He will also lead two 90 minute workshops as part of the conference: “Getting Started with Blue Fruits” on February 10 and “An Agenda for Organic America” on February 11.
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“We’re excited to welcome Jim to this year’s conference, now in our new home in Dayton. He has been a leader in the organic movement and a knowledgeable, vocal advocate for strong and transparent standards for decades,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
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Riddle will speak as part of the Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which will run Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 at the Dayton Convention Center.
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In addition to Riddle, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Robyn O’Brien on February 11; nearly 80 educational workshops; four pre-conference intensive workshops on February 9; a three-day trade show; networking events; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.
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For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2017.
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Our Sponsors

   

     

Dickinson Wright PLLC | Five Rivers MetroParks | Greenacres Foundation | Morning Ag Clips | Natural Awakenings Central Ohio, Cincinnati, and Toledo | Shagbark Seed and Mill | Snowville Creamery | Sustane Natural Fertilizer

  AgCredit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Edible Columbus | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Hiland Supply Co. | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Lucky Cat Bakery | Organic Valley | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
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Andelain Fields | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Palamades Photography | Plant Talk Radio
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Bexley Natural Market | Carriage House Farm | Casa Nueva | D&S Farm & Garden Supply | Dale Filbrun and family, Morning Sun Farm | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Dairy Farm | IBA | Jorgensen Farm | Lucky Penny Farm | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Stutzman Farm | Swainway Urban Farm | Tea Hills Farms

 

Registration Now Open for Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: New Location for 38th Annual Event Features More Space, Expanded Schedule

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2016

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
  
Registration is now open for the largest sustainable agriculture conference in Ohio, which is relocating in 2017 to a larger venue in order to offer an expanded program and more networking opportunities for farmers, backyard gardeners, consumers, businesses, and others interested in sustainable and organic agriculture.
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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow, will run Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio.
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“We are thrilled with this new location, and excited about this year’s line up,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “There certainly is something for everyone interested in food and farming.”

Online registration is now open at www.oeffa.org/conference2017. As a special “Move With Us” incentive, OEFFA is offering a reduced registration rate for members who register by December 15. A limited number of beginning farmer scholarships and reduced volunteer spaces are also available. Online registration will be open until January 23.

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will feature:
  
Keynote Speakers 
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Friday keynote speaker Jim Riddle has been an organic farmer, inspector, educator, policy analyst, and activist for more than 30 years. From 2001 to 2006, Riddle served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, chairing the board from 2004 to 2005. He is founding chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association and owns Blue Fruit Farm in Minnesota.A former financial and food industry analyst, Saturday keynote speaker Robyn O’Brien, presented by Horizon Organic, has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich.” O’Brien analyzed the impact that our food system has on the health of our families, companies, and our economy in her bestselling book, The Unhealthy Truth, and became recognized around the world after her TEDx talk in 2011, which has been viewed by millions.

Intensive Workshops for Farmers, by Farmers
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Four full-day Thursday pre-conference intensive workshop options are designed to help farmers grow their businesses and hone their farm skills:
  • Farming Smarter, Not Harder: Tune Up Your Farm Business and Increase Your Net Profit, with Richard Wiswall of Cate Farm and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook
  • Respect Your Elderberries: Growing and Selling Niche Fruit Crops from Aronia to Service Berries, with Jim Riddle of Blue Fruit Farm
  • Growing Bionutrient Rich Food: Applying the Principles of Ecological Systems, with Dan Kittredge of the Bionutrient Food Association
  • Building a Profitable Pastured Broiler Business, with Mike and Christie Badger of Badger’s Millside Farm and the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association
Workshops, Networking, and More

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2017.

Our Sponsors

   

     

 
AgCredit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Casa Nueva | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Edible Columbus | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Hiland Supply Co. | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Lucky Cat Bakery | Organic Valley | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
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Andelain Fields | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Palamades Photography | Plant Talk Radio
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Bexley Natural Market | Carriage House Farm | Dale Filbrun and family, Morning Sun Farm | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Dairy Farm | IBA | Jorgensen Farm | Lucky Penny Farm | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Stutzman Farm | Swainway Urban Farm | Tea Hills Farms

Do You Know Where the Candidates Stand on Sustainable Agriculture Issues this Election Season?

We can’t help but notice the news the presidential candidates make on a daily basis. What is less well-reported, however, are the 132 state and federal legislative races Ohioans will vote on, and where those candidates stand on important issues that affect you every day.
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A healthy democracy requires direct and open communication, but many incumbents feel they have more to lose than to gain by attending candidate’s nights or answering questions. Thankfully, there are exceptions, like those candidates that answered OEFFA’s Food and Farming Questions for Candidates Guide survey.
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Click here to confirm your state and federal districts, see the candidates that will appear on your ballot and, if they responded to our survey, read about their views on important food and agricultural issues like genetic engineering, fracking, and the Farm Bill.
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If your local candidates didn’t respond, or if you want to dig deeper, there is still time! Click here to find a candidate’s forum close to you, take a copy of the Food and Farming Questions for Candidates Guide with you, and find out for yourself what their views are. Be an informed voter and engage in direct democracy today!

OEFFA’s 38th Annual Conference: Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Thursday, February 9 – Saturday, February 11, 2017
Dayton Convention Center, Dayton, OH
Ohio’s largest sustainable agriculture conference is moving to Dayton, which means lots of exciting changes, including:
  • Conference Art 2017New, spacious location with on-site hotel and parking, cell phone reception, Wi-Fi, and other amenities!
  • Larger three day trade show
  • Thursday networking and reception and Friday banquet
  • Easy access to downtown Dayton’s attractions, dining, nightlife, and recreation

Plus, the same great features you love, including:

  • Educational, inspiring workshops on sustainable farming, livestock, business, homesteading, and cooking
  • In-depth Thursday pre-conference sessions
  • Engaging nationally-recognized keynote speakers
  • Made-from-scratch, local, organic meals
  • Activities for kids and teens
  • Raffle, book sales, and a setting that encourages networking, learning, and fellowship.
Grow with us! Registration opens this fall.
Learn more and sign up to receive conference updates here.

OEFFA to Help Ohio Invest in Future of Agriculture

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2016

Contact:
Carol Goland, OEFFA Executive Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 202, cgoland@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) today announced its new Begin Farming Program, which will provide aspiring and new farmers in Ohio the support they need to understand what it takes to get into farming and grow their businesses.

This new program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The USDA has announced $17.8 million in grants to organizations for 37 education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives, included funding for OEFFA’s three year project.

“Farming is a public service. We all depend on farmers for the food we feed our families. As the farming population ages, we must invest in beginning farmers and the future of our food system,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland.

Beginning farmers face significant hurdles to success, including attaining knowledge, skills, and experience in production practices; acquiring the fundamental business planning and financial management knowledge and skills required to successfully operate a viable small business; and accessing farmland and capital as part of the substantial investment farming requires.

Agriculture is the largest component of Ohio’s economy, contributing more than $10 billion from crop and livestock sales in 2012. However, about 10 percent of small farmers exit agriculture each year and the current median age for farmers is 58. Increasing successful entry into farming and subsequent persistence in farming has significant impacts on the long-range sustainability of U.S. agriculture.

OEFFA’s new “Growing Good Farmers, Growing Good Food” program will provide skill-building educational opportunities to facilitate beginning farmers’ development as producers and small business owners. The goal is to increase the number of successful beginning farmers who operate economically viable farms and utilize organic and sustainable production practices. The project will include on-farm apprenticeships, field days, workshops, networking opportunities, business skills training, mentoring, fact sheets, a production assistance hotline, and land access services.

“This new program will allow us to comprehensively serve Ohio’s beginning farmers and help build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, meets the growing consumer demand for local food, and safeguards the environment,” said Goland.

BFRDP was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, receiving $100 million to be awarded over the next five years. The program was originally funded through the 2008 Farm Bill. More than 50,000 beginning farmers and ranchers have participated in projects funded by BFRDP.

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OEFFA is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Labeling Bill Leaves Public in the Dark

Contact: Amalie Lipstreu, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, amalie@oeffa.org; Renee Hunt, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2016

Columbus, Ohio—A bill released by the U.S. Senate will continue to hide information about food with GE ingredients, according to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), a statewide sustainable food and farm not-for-profit.

“Although its being called a ‘national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods,’ this bill will keep Americans in the dark about what they eat and feed their families,” said Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator.

The bill gives food manufacturers three options for labeling of GE food: text on the label, a scan code for use with smart phones, and a symbol.

“The reality is that companies already have the option to use clear and honest labeling on the package and none have labeled their products until the threat of the Vermont law loomed,” said Lipstreu. “The action by the Senate protects chemical industry groups that want to obscure information on food produced using bioengineering and pesticides.”

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) released the compromise bill on June 24, days before a Vermont law requiring mandatory on-package labeling of GE food is set to go into effect. This bill would preempt Vermont’s law and prevent any other state laws from taking effect.

The compromise bill would reduce label transparency by giving manufacturers the choice of replacing a clear and factual statement with an unfamiliar symbol or scan code—the latter a special burden for those without smart phones. The law would also exempt all meat, poultry, and egg products raised on GE feed and food where those GE products are the main ingredient.

“This so-called compromise puts the interests of the biotech industry ahead of the public and does not serve the people of this country,” said Lipstreu.

More than 60 countries have laws for straightforward labeling of GE food, which have not disrupted trade, or had negative impacts on consumers or the agricultural industry. “The marketplace is demanding a clear on-package statement. This bill will not deliver the information consumers seek,” said Lipstreu.

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OEFFA is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

 

Ohio Organic Farm in Path of Pipelines Joins National Day of Action on Fracking

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2016
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Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, amalie@oeffa.org
Mick Luber, Bluebird Farm, (740) 945-0217, bluebirdorganicfarm@gmail.com
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

Cadiz, OH—One of Ohio’s first certified organic farms, under threat by fracking and pipeline development, will be hosting a farm tour as part of a National Day of Action on Fracking Tuesday, June 7.

For decades, Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm in Cadiz, Ohio has grown organic vegetables and other crops on his 65 acre farm, which serves markets in Wheeling and Pittsburgh.

Luber’s farm is located within a half mile of three wells and a compressor station, and two pipelines are being built and planned just south of the farm. Now, if a legal agreement is not reached, a third pipeline—Kinder-Morgan’s Utopia pipeline—would cross his farm’s most productive field, carrying ethylene and propane to plastics manufacturing plants in Canada.

“Organic farms across Ohio are in the path of fracking, pipelines, and injection wells. We’re inviting the public to stand with Mick and other farmers who are stewarding the land, to see firsthand what’s at stake if we lose these farms, and to learn how they can join us in saving organic farmland,” event organizer Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) said.

Luber says, if built, the Utopia pipeline would permanently damage his land and his business.

“You can’t work on soil for 30 plus years, adding compost to make the soil enliven with bacteria, earthworms, and mycelium and watch it be destroyed by bulldozers and track hoes,” Luber said, noting his farm could not be restored to its present state of soil life and structure no matter how good the company’s reclamation efforts.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at Bluebird Farm, 86663 Fife Rd., Cadiz, OH and is part of a National Day of Action on Fracking organized by the Frackfree America National Coalition based in Youngstown designed to bring attention to the impacts of fracking, including property damage, water pollution, earthquakes, fires, and explosions.

According to a 2015 report by FracTracker analyzing 703 organic farms in Ohio, 220 were near current drilling activity, 105 were near waste disposal injection wells, and 510 were within a U.S. shale basin. Water or soil contamination from fracking activities or accidents could jeopardize a farm’s organic certification.
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“In addition to production and injection wells, the energy industry is now weaving a web of pipelines and compressor stations across Ohio, impacting waterways, farmland, forests, cultural resources, and residential communities,” Lipstreu said. “Besides the potential risks of explosions and contamination, these pipelines threaten the future of some of Ohio’s most sustainable farms.”
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This event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged. To register, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or eric@oeffa.org by June 3. Visitors are invited to bring a dish to share and drinks for a potluck and social following the tour. Representatives from the nonprofit environmental law firm, Fair Shake Legal Services, will be available to discuss landowner rights and answer pipeline questions.
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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Cost-Share Program Helps Make Organic Certification Affordable for Farmers and Processors

For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2016

Contact:
Carol Goland, OEFFA, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 202, cgoland@oeffa.org
Lori Panda, Ohio Department of Agriculture, (614) 466-8798, lori.panda@agri.ohio.gov
Peter Wood, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, (202) 720-6179, peter.wood@ams.usda.gov

Columbus, OH—This May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that $369,100 is available through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program to make organic certification more affordable for organic producers and handlers in Ohio. A total of approximately $11.6 million is available to organic operations across the country.

This funding covers as much as 75 percent of an individual applicant’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 annually per certification scope. Four scopes of certification are eligible for reimbursement: crops, wild crops, livestock, and handler.

“The organic market is booming, with more and more producers taking advantage of the economic opportunities it presents,” AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer said.  “The cost-share program makes it easier for organic businesses throughout the supply chain to get certified, helping them meet growing consumer demand.”

Retail sales of organic products grew to more than $39 billion in the United States in 2014 and more than $75 billion worldwide, according to the USDA.

Since 2011, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) to administer Ohio’s cost-share program.

“The cost-share program is utilized by about 45 percent of Ohio’s nearly 800 organic farmers,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “We encourage more organic farmers to take advantage of this opportunity, which can help make becoming—or staying—certified more affordable.”

Reimbursable costs include application fees, certification fees, travel costs for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. The program is currently reimbursing for expenses paid between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.  Applications for reimbursement must be postmarked by November 15, 2016, although requests are processed monthly.

Organic farmers and processors in Ohio can access the reimbursement application from OEFFA’s website at http://certification.oeffa.org/costshare or by calling (614) 262-2022.

Certified organic producers and handlers outside of Ohio can find the contact information for their administrating agencies at www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostSharing.

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.